Ina Fried

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Sprint Nearly Sold Out of iPhone 5 at Many East Coast Spots

Not surprisingly, the iPhone 5 is flying off store shelves as the product goes on sale across the globe.

A Sprint representative tells AllThingsD that it is sold out of the phones at many of its stores, just hours after the Apple smartphone went on sale.

“At this time, the majority of East Coast Sprint-branded retail stores are seriously constrained or sold out of iPhone 5 inventory provided to us by Apple,” the carrier said. “Our stores will be resupplied as soon as additional devices are received from Apple.”

Sprint is setting up a wait list where customers can buy a $50 gift card and secure their spot when phones become available.

AT&T and Verizon representatives declined to comment.

Market researcher comScore said on Friday that online sales of the iPhone 5 have reached a level in three days comparable to what it took a month for the iPhone 4S to achieve.

AT&T has grabbed the lion’s share of those early orders, thanks to its large base of iPhone 4 customers looking to upgrade. According to comScore, more than two-thirds of online sales have been for AT&T models, with Verizon grabbing nearly a quarter of sales and Sprint around 8 percent.

“But if history is any indication, the carrier share of iPhone sales is subject to change,” comScore said. “If we look back at the launch of the iPhone 4S, AT&T led with 48 percent of online sales among the three carriers in the first three days. Verizon represented 35 percent of online sales while Sprint, which joined Verizon and AT&T as an official iPhone carrier with the release of the 4S, captured 17 percent. But by the end of the month the story had shifted, with Verizon driving 45 percent of online sales, followed closely by AT&T at 43 percent and Sprint accounting for the remaining 12 percent.”

Update: Sprint says it is seeing the same thing on the West Coast, now that those stores have been open for a couple of hours.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work